THE BRITISH LIBRARY

In through the outfield blog

30 November 2011

New research into patenting and innovation

WIPO has just published its 2011 World Intellectual Property Report: the changing face of innovation.

Its 184 pages packs in a huge number of tables giving data about research and development, technology transfer, patent pools, innovation by universities and the like. It looks like a very useful reference for anyone interested in such topics.

The report's arguments as summarised in the Executive Summary are that the geography of innovation is changing, although "high-income countries" still dominate R & D; it is more international; it is more collaborative and open; IP ownership has become more central to business thinking; knowledge markets based on IP products are becoming more important; patent portfolio races complicate cumulative innovation processes; patents facilitate specialization and learning; and so on. It also says that market forces do not always lead to "desirable levels" of collaboration, and that academia is doing more now in patenting and commercialising their research.

Also recently published are two UK-focused reports.

The first report is Patenting in the UK by Dr Victor Zhiromirsky of PatAnalyse Limited and Mick McLean and Jeremy Klein of Technologia Limited.

They suggest that each patent is equivalent to about £2 million in R & D expenditure. Their analysis also suggests that about 44% of UK-origin patents are by companies filing 5 patents or more annually; 40% from those that file fewer than 5; 8% from universities, and 8% by private inventors. Some inventors form a company and then file, of course, and some universities sell or license their inventions to others who then appear as the applicants in the patents.

Tables in the report are also used to show "clustering" within technical sectors by companies.

The second report is UK patent attorneys by the same Dr Zhiromirsky.

Based on the same format, it has some fascinating statistics about individual patent attorney firms and their activities in the UK and abroad. The report suggests that 58% of UK-origin patents are handled by patent attorney firms; 25% by non-attorneys (mostly by the inventors themselves ?); and 17% by in-house patent attorneys working for industrial companies.

The report also discusses the loss of business at the European Patent Office to Munich-based attorneys.

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